How PR Can Borrow from SEO for Increased Visibility

If you’re a frequent reader of the SHIFT blog, you know we’re all about integrating data-driven strategies and tactics into our everyday PR efforts. Integrated PR and marketing programs are no longer the exception, they’re the rule. SEO tactics are a great place to start. Whether you’re researching data points for a pitch or building out a content calendar, PR pros can borrow from SEO to take content to the next level.


If you’re looking for timely content and trends, I highly recommend starting with Google Trends. Google Trends gives you the ability to search for a particular keyword, company name, etc. to see its search volume and popularity over time. At a glance, you can easily see seasonality in your search and compare terms to one another.

Google Trends data works best when you have a broad topic or idea – something you would incorporate into a quarterly PR plan. For example, with Google Trends, you can expect to see terms around weight loss spike around January as people kick off the year with new resolutions to lose weight and get healthy. As such, you’d want to beef up pitching for your fitness app leading into the new year, rather than in early fall where we see steady declines in search volume year over year.


Competitive Research

Although the industry has been slowly moving away from share of voice as a measurement for PR success, many clients and brands alike still want to know where they stack up against top competitors. Companies like Moz and SpyFu have user-friendly tools that let you search for a particular keyword, domain or individual link and get a snapshot view of organic search performance. What are the top keywords your competitor is ranking for? Or more importantly, what are the top keywords where my competitor ranks and I do not? All can be found within these tools.

When conducting competitive research, keep an eye on content gaps – areas where your customers are searching, but neither you nor your competitors are providing solutions. Google is no longer a slave to individual keywords – it’s all about topics and related ideas. If your customers and prospects are searching for the answer to a question and find your piece of content is useful, you’ll rank higher than a page that is deemed less useful.

What decides whether your content is “useful”? Machines. Machine learning algorithms analyze MASSIVE amounts of search and traffic data to connect the dots between what someone is looking for and what will provide them with the most useful information. These algorithms are constantly changing and learning from your web activity, so it’s important to incorporate this research into your programs on a monthly or quarterly basis.

SEO is ALWAYS Changing

These tactics are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to lessons PR pros can learn from SEO. Like previously mentioned, search engine algorithms are in constant flux. According to Moz, Google changes its search algorithm between 500 and 600 times per year. That’s close to 3,000 updates in the past five years alone. I recommend incorporating SEO-focused publications and blogs into your daily reading rotations to stay on top of the latest trends and happenings in the SEO world. And as with anything, never stop learning.

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